Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Dentistry: Safety & Precautions

Dr. Kyle Hornby

The Coronavirus pandemic has led to closure of all Ontario Dental Offices. Currently, Ontario Dentists are able only to provide emergency dental care. At some point, public health agencies will allow re-opening of Medical and Dental offices across the province. What will this all look like?

While there is much to still be determined, I am going to write about ways that we can raise the bar to increase public safety in our Dental Practices.

Post-Coronavirus Dental Precautions

Air Purification

Current technology has made available high-capacity Surgically Clean Air purifiers for Medical and Dental offices. Many of these purifiers can turnover office air 5-20 times per hour depending on office size. These purifiers trap and destroy virus particles to ensure the cleanest air possible for dental patients.

Barriers

Dentists and Doctors may choose to add physical barriers to limit person-to-person exposure. Similar barrier systems have worked with great success in Taiwanese schools that have remained open during the Coronavirus outbreak. So, things like glass barriers at the front desk may become far more common in a post-COVID-19 world.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Dental offices already follow stringent guidelines related to protective equipment and sterilization. However, particular additional items may become routine to dental offices in a post-Coronavirus world. For instance, N95 masks, face shields, and full-coverage surgical gowns would further limit spread of droplets and aerosols between individuals.

Patient Screening

Patient screening for symptoms and illness has been beneficial to limiting virus spread. However, some COVID-19-positive individuals have been symptom-free. Regardless, screening of patients for Coronavirus symptoms will continue to play an important role in maximizing safety for all.

Summary

Today, I wanted to discuss just a few of the potential ways that Dental offices can raise the bar on patient protection once we are all able to re-open. Realistically, there will still need to be stringent protective guidelines to guard against person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. We will eventually receive guidelines from public health agencies regarding post-Coronavirus protocols to protect our patients. Once we have that information, I will do my best to pass it along to all of you.

Until then, stay safe.

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

Our Kitchener Dental Office is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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